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Thursday, April 28, 2011

AAQR: The Secret of Grisly Manor (game, puzzle, paid)

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseThe Secret of Grisly Manor was given away free on Amazon Appstore a little while back. It's a decent little "puzzle adventure" in the vein of Myst. Whether it's worth $1.99... well, that's up to you.

Basically, you got a summons from your eccentric grandpa to visit him at his manor, where he was rumored to have disappeared and the place turned into a haunted house. When you got there, you need to solve various puzzles to advance and eventually, find grandpa and discover his secrets.

The puzzles are not bad, as most of them makes sense. There is a bit of back and forth as clues for one section are often left in a completely different section of the house. The game is sneaky in that there is ANOTHER door between the bathroom and the two bedrooms. If you try every pixel on screen you would have missed it. On a PC there are little "arrows" showing you where you can or cannot go, but not on an Android phone or tablet!

Another problem or two I have is on the slider puzzle (i.e. enter combination of safe). The sliders are supposed to let you enter a number from 1 to 100. However, the sensitivity of the sliders are such that it is virtually impossible to stop on the exact number, and there are no up/down arrows to let you fine tune. It was an extremely frustrating exercise. Again, on a PC this was no problem, as the the mouse have infinitely better sensitivity (and the whole desk to work with). Same problem in the final slider puzzle: the solution may not engage the first time as you can't get the stuff to line up precisely.

Overall, the game is an "also-ran". There really isn't much to go for. The bad UI really turned me off. The puzzles are average. As it was free, I guess it didn't hurt much, but again, I doubt it would have paid $1.99 for it. This was a port from a Flash Game (and was also ported to iOS, apparently).

Rating: skip it, unless you REALLY enjoy this sort game
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